Many assume that you have to be involved in politics to move to Washington DC. This is absolutely not true. This area has a thriving arts scene, plus there are tons of large employers with career growth potential, including MedStar Health, Inova Health System, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Lockheed Martin Corp. Not to mention, since this is such a touristy area, if you are in hospitality you can make a decent income here. Some people simply move to DC for the phenomenal schools. Whatever your reason is for moving to Washington, you should find this guide very helpful.
Research the Neighborhood
Few will say that there are any “bad” neighborhoods in the DC area, unless of course they are referring to the high cost of a studio apartment downtown. The closer you live to the downtown district, you more expensive housing will be. That being said, if you work downtown and you can walk, cycle, or take public transportation, it will save you money in gas and parking. There are a few areas recommended for those relocating to the city, including:
- Adams Morgan – Young families and professionals as well as some students live here. Studios apartments start at $1,500, and it is served by the Metro, Metrobus, and DC Circulator. The crime rate is not horrible, but it is higher than other places, but if offers a thriving nightlife and plenty of dining and shopping opportunities.
- Dupont Circle – This area is about the same as Adams Morgan when it comes to pricing and the residents it attracts. However, rather than having a ton of bars and pubs, you will find fantastic bookstores, cafes, and trendy restaurants.
- Foggy Bottom – If you are lucky, you can find a studio apartment here for $1,300, but they go as fast as they come available. This is an upscale area, and close to the Kennedy Center.
If you can afford a little more in your budget, you will want to look at Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and Chinatown. If you do not mind a commute, you can find great deals in Silver Spring in Maryland, and Arlington and Fairfax County in Virginia.
You do not want to try to deal with moving your belongings yourself in DC. In many cases, parking is very limited so there is a good chance that the moving truck will need to park on a busy street, and movers will have to work fast to unload, or they may have to park in an alley or nearby parking lot and carry everything pretty far. Be prepared to be charged extra if they have to carry a long distance. If you are moving into a building with a service elevator, make sure you find out if you need to be added to the schedule to use it.
Downtown and most neighborhoods are very walkable. Do not be surprised to see people in suits cycling to work to reduce their carbon footprint. There is also a fantastic public transportation system here.
- DC Circulator – This bus system only costs $1 per ride, and every stop see a bus every 10 minutes. So, if you miss one bus, another will be following close behind.
- Metro – There are five metro lines, and they are all easy to navigate for newbies because they are color coded as blue, red, green, orange, and yellow.
- Metrobus – This system offers more direct routes when you do not have time for the more scenic route. There are approximately 335 stops around the city. You can purchase a rechargeable card and pay per ride, if you do not use it that often, or you can get a $12 Metrobus Pass, which gives you unlimited travel Sunday through Saturday.
Cost of Living
Before making the move to DC, make sure you are prepared for the high cost of living. It is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, and even groceries cost more than you would expect. That being said, if you get a roommate it will help a lot. Also, there are free things to do all around the city, so even if you are broke between paychecks, you will not be forced to stay at home.
Take Advantage of Happy Hour
Dining out frequently or even stopping for a martini after work to mingle can add up quite quickly. Fortunately, there are fantastic happy hour specials (and amazing steaks!) at some of the hottest places in the city. A few recommendations include St. Arnold’s on Jefferson, DC Reynolds, Vinoteca, Black Jack, The Bottom Line, JoJo Restaurant and Bar, Piola, Co Co Sala, Old Ebbitt Grill, 1920 DC, and Nellie’s Sports Bar.
Here are the most recommended moving companies in Washington DC to help you with your move.
Interested in more reading about Washington DC? Check out our great articles: